Your 6 new ways to use location targeting

Looking to take your location targeting to the next level? Columnist Carrie Albright offers some new geotargeting ideas for your PPC campaigns.


As advertising platforms diversify the targeting options they provide, we are challenged to become more and more creative with exactly how we find and appeal to our customer bases.

Years ago, simply targeting the geographic region of interest was an easy win for improved relevance and reach. But times have changed, and so have the stakes.

Although location/geographic targeting is particularly advantageous to those with storefronts, there are improved tactics that impact those of us advertising goods and services that aren’t in a traditional retail space. Provided below are six new approaches to geographic targeting to boost your digital marketing strategies.

For those with brick-and-mortar operations, it’s presumed that you target a healthy radius around your stores. This should be square one.

For any moderate or advanced advertiser, it’s also expected that you target your high-performing geographic areas with location-specific campaigns or layered geo bids. But there is more that can be done to emphasize your presence to the existing or prospective customer base.

1. National vs. hyper-targeted campaigns

One example of hyper-targeted campaigns is a car rental company. It is assumed that if you offer services in Denver, Colorado, you will be targeting this region. It is also very likely that you have entire campaigns dedicated to rental car interest strictly in the Denver area.

But your next step should include all those outside of Denver with an interest in car rentals. This is the “embedded negative” equivalent of geotargeting in which all of the US is targeted, but Denver itself is excluded.

The theory:

The expectation here is that your service may be something a traveler is planning to need, even though they’re not in the area at the time. This segmentation allows you to offer customized pricing and location in your ad copy, and even send them to highly relevant landing pages.

The build:

  • Example Campaign 1: Denver — Car Rental Interest
  • Example Campaign 2: National — Denver Car Rental Interest

The major note to be made is that your new National campaign must contain a qualifier for Denver, so that you’re not wasting your budget on interest in an area you can’t accommodate.

  • Example Denver campaign — Car Rental Interest Keyword: +car +rental
  • Example National campaign — Denver Car Rental Interest Keyword: +car +rental +Denver +area

The evidence:

This approach was applied to an account that targeted certain city hubs across the US. From the data collected, we saw that volume was lower for the National campaigns, largely due to conservative budget usage, but that engagement was actually quite a bit higher.


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